1h 57min | Drama | 20 October 2000 (Turkey)
Teens in a Turkish prison struggle to survive under hideous conditions. Made by dying Yilmaz Guney in France, after he escaped from a Turkish prison, enabling him to accept his award at Cannes for Yol (The Road). When the Turkish superstar leading man turned human rights activist, Guney was convicted for pro-Kurdish political activity and murder, by the Turkish military regime. Director/writer Guney’s last film, Duvar (The Wall), was banned in Turkey for 17 years. The incarcerated teens organize and fight back, brutalize each other, exult over the smallest triumph, while joking, suffering and learning from the inhumanity they wallow in. The prison also separately houses men and women, many played by other Turkish expatriates.
When the moonlight reflected onto prison bars, they came together to pray for the same wishes. There was hope in their eyes while they were watching the crows fly. No matter what time of the day it was, they searched for the sky. Justice was the sun of infinity, and the sum of their tears; eventually it rose. Duvar had always inspired millions. It has a life enhancing impact for whoever looking for hope and justice. Considering that how so ever bad circumstances we’re having at the present time, somewhere in the world there is always other people struggling against worse circumstances. Duvar is a prayer that receives an answer from God.
Produced, written and directed by Yılmaz Güney within his own personal experiences of capital offense, he dedicates Duvar to male teenagers aged 13 to 19 living behind the bars under diabolical treatments. These teenagers get barbaric corporal punishments, injurious harrows, tortures and sexual abuses just for taking the responsibility of their destiny on a wrong turn. Throughout the story we find them fighting for a piece of bread from the garbage trucks, a look of daylight from the rat holes, or a smart way of escaping from a periodic non-sense punishment. Despite whole the unbearable scenes of view, there is absolutely no melodrama, but the facts. Some of the scenes are full of very disturbing images, but at the same time very original and very successful camera shoots; like the scene at the women’s ward where a pregnant woman gives birth to a child but with the actual happening of the baby getting out of mother’s womb. The whole occurrence of the mother’s genital organ opens wide enough to getting the baby out, without absolutely no medical assistance and the camera setting distance of a half feet away from the spot was as good and as bold as a Dogma 95 shoot. The version of the movie which I got to see over the internet was the actual uncut version. So, if anybody sees this movie rather than the Cannes film festival seen cut might not see this scene because of the ratings. Well, we’ve waited 17 years to see this movie in our theaters in Turkey just because it has been considered as a provocative work of art, at the time when it’s been shot. This is an extra-ordinary epic like no other, so dashing and so truthful. Children act so heartfelt. The director Güney must have been devotedly attached to these children that, the communication between him and them have built up the most greatest successful acting no-named children of all time movie history. This is the one and the biggest power that connects us to this epic and to love it and to remember it whole our lives.
For the reason of revolutionary character of the director Yılmaz Güney, Duvar had been considered as a revolutionary film, which is actually not. It truly exposes the inequitable approaches against the teenagers at some of the prisons in 1980s’ Turkey without touching no ideas or delivering no political views. It was a matter of humanity hiding the truth of torturing teenagers, while administering justice. Yılmaz Güney had exposed that with no perversion of truth. He made cinema to deliver its mission to show the public what needs to be known.
Director: Yilmaz Güney
Writer: Yilmaz Güney
Stars: Tuncel Kurtiz, Ayse Emel Mesci Kuray, Malik Berrichi
Country: Turkey | France
Language: Turkish | French
Release Date: 20 October 2000 (Turkey)
Also Known As: The Wall
Filming Locations: Abbaye Royale du Moncel, Pontpoint, Oise, France